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When I read the name of the song was “Drunk At Your Funeral”, I half expected to be greeted with a tongue-in-cheek-but-not-really sass-fest of a song, and while that would have been cool and all, what Los Angeles-Based singer and Songwriter Gretchen Klempa had in mind was something so completely different that I almost made me embarrassed to have had that expectation in the first place.

Without mincing words, “Drunk At Your Funeral” is quite the heart-wrenching confession of someone who is simply “not ready to say goodbye”. The tragic and deeply human character of the song lends itself perfectly to transpose your own painful memories into it, to weave your own tragedies and baggage into Gretchen’s in a melancholic but ultimately positive song that embraces the healing qualities of being honest and opening up about pain.

Describing her sound as “indie/cathedral rock” Gretchen’s first solo outing comes ahead of her debut EP to prepare us for it. She layers on a richly textured indie-rock ballad sound atop a cinematic-orchestral foundation that takes on a very slow-burn crescendo that little by little heightens the emotional intensity of the lyrics. 

Though this represents Klempa’s solo debut, she’s far from inexperienced. In 2012 she founded the band “Gretchen and the Pickpockets” with whom she went on to gain extensive touring experience across New England and a string of awards in 2018 such as  Jazz Artist of the Year in the Boston Music Awards and the New England Music Awards. For her, however, there was only so much she could give the world from within the confines of a collaborative group effort. Deciding to break away solo, Gretchen made the move to L.A. To work on new music where she could truly be much more open and personal in her songwriting.

This Upcoming EP represents a lot of new things for Gretchen, It was written during the lockdown, and those strenuous circumstances drove her to dig ever deeper and look more honestly at herself as a musician and eventually demanding that she work harder to make something she felt was more impactful and meaningful, even revealing: “If I could die tomorrow in a global pandemic, what would I want to say to the world? What is my voice? This upcoming EP is an ode to my 20’s. Your 20’s are really fucking hard and not many people talk about that.” 

I felt that this first single is one hell of a way to make a first impression. Gretchen proves right off the bat just how deeply touching and harrowing her lyrics can be, already promising an EP that successfully achieves what she set out to do, and I have no doubts that, when it drops, it will not disappoint.


Story: Samuel Aponte Photos: Chelsea Rose



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